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What You Can Learn from a Chicken’s APA Class

A mixed flock of chickens in a backyard

For exhibition purposes, large chicken breeds recognized by the American Poultry Association (APA) are organized into six classes. Most of the classes represent the geographic region where the breeds originated or were developed. Knowing a chicken’s APA class lets you infer a number of things about the breed, including temperament, laying ability, climate tolerance, and […]

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Speckled Sussex Chickens in the Heritage Breed Spotlight

Speckled Sussex

Speckled Sussex chickens are an old breed originating in England’s county of Sussex. They appeared in the world’s first poultry exhibition in 1845, although they date much farther back than that. This large-bodied bird was originally kept primarily for meat. But in the United States Sussex chickens are considered to be a dual-purpose egg-and-meet breed. […]

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Orpington Chickens in the Heritage Breed Spotlight

An Orpington chicken with a chick

Orpington chickens get their name from the town of Orpington in Kent, England. They are the creation of Britain’s William Cook, whose goal was developing an outstanding meat and egg breed that tolerates England’s cold winters. Orpingtons first appeared at exhibition in London in 1886 and were first shown in the United States in 1895. […]

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Wyandotte Chickens in the Heritage Breed Spotlight

A Wyandotte-Buff-Roo chicken inside a coop

Wyandotte chickens were developed in a region of the United States once occupied by the Native American Huron tribes. Collectively, these tribes were known as Wendat, or Wyandot, which inspired the breed name. Physical Attributes With their short tail, short back, and loose feathering, Wyandotte chickens look rather round. They may be large or bantam. […]

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12 Black Chicken Breeds

Australorp Hen sitting in the grass

The definition of black chicken breeds depends on who’s talking. The term might refer to a breed that’s truly all black — feathers, comb and wattles, beak, shanks and feet, skin, and even bones. But some chicken breeds with black skin and other body parts have varieties with alternative plumage colors besides black. Many chickens […]

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10 Chicken Breeds with Beards

A Bearded Polish chicken

Chicken breeds with beards came about as a genetic mutation. Chicken keepers liked the appearance, and so they continued to breed more of the same. Other than the cuteness factor, scientists have yet to find any significant advantage or disadvantage to a beard on a chicken. A beard appears as elongated feathers growing beneath a […]

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Chicken Breed Abbreviations

A BBROEGB Chicken

Chicken keepers often use abbreviations and assume their listeners know what they mean. Here are some of the more common chicken breed abbreviations, along with abbreviations for variety features and those used for show that may be puzzling when you see them in poultry publications, forums, and websites. Note that abbreviations may be combined to […]

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6 Reasons to Hatch Poultry Eggs in an Incubator

Before eggs can develop into chicks or other poultry, they must experience a specific amount of heat and humidity for a specific length of time. Most hens instinctively know what to do. Here are 6 reasons you may instead prefer to hatch poultry eggs in an incubator. Reliability Hens of your chosen breed may not […]

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